Volunteer Spotlight: Harvey Cohen

Volunteer Spotlight

08.26.2020

When and how did you first get involved with Revels?

In the early 80’s I got into English Country Dancing. I was dating a teacher who had a student in the Christmas show chorus and we got front row tickets.  In the show, there were some familiar faces from the weekly English dance including Helene Cornelius, Jacqueline Schwab, Chris Walker, and some other Pinewoods Morris Men.  Then I became a regular Christmas Revels attendee.

How did you first volunteer with Revels?

I am not exactly sure how I started as a volunteer. I was an active volunteer in both NEFFA and CDS (Country Dance Society), Boston Centre.  Nancy Hanssen was the volunteer coordinator for Revels and was also active in NEFFA.  We both lived in Framingham and got to be friends. Nancy recruited me to help Revels.  I believe my first assignment was doing parking at a Spring Revels in Lincoln. I still have the green cap that I wore!  Later, I had the good fortune to take an early retirement and was happy to become part of the volunteer steering committee.

Shortly after, Nancy approached me to supervise the volunteers at the ‘Books and Records’ booth during the Christmas show. That went from 1992 to 2002.  After every show, I would count the money and then send a Fax to the office with the tally. Somehow the revenue was up, the office was happy and as a reward, I had the opportunity to go backstage and to watch many shows evolve and learn some theater. Jack (Revels Founder John Langstaff) would come in and always ask me if I had seen the show.

The booth I inherited was cumbersome to move and store.  I devised the current design but made the mistake of painting the superstructure a color similar to the stage props. It was soon discarded.  I then rebuilt it and painted it bright red. That incarnation has lasted over 25 years.

Are there any particular incidents with Revels that made an impact on you?

I would make the bank deposit from the Records booth at my bank in Framingham. One time, the bank teller gave me a funny look. She was a regular Christmas Revels attendee and did not expect to find anyone from that far west who would be involved with the Revels.  Also, one night, an older woman came to the table in a panic and insisted to see Jack who was in the show that year. She had forgotten her tickets.  I solved that one.

What other activities have you done with Revels? 

Over the years I have done a lot of baking and cooking for the Revels, wassail parties, cast parties, Spring Sing, and cast suppers during the show. I have helped at mailings and making props. Do you remember the orange flowers for the 1994 MesoAmerican Revels? There was the egg at the beginning of the 1993 Northland/Scandanavian Christmas Revels. Even though the backstage area is a nut-free zone I supply nut-coated rugelach during Hanukkah to Jonathan in the Sanders office (shhh – don’t tell!). There were a couple of dirty jobs. I helped relocate the warehouse from Cambridge to its current location.  In 2000, for The Mysteries at the Cyclorama in Boston, I led the assembly of the heavy Hadden Hall structure and then hung the very dirty rugs, which many thought were real tapestries.

Currently, I live in Brookline and ride in on the bus to Harvard Square. I prefer to help on many of the two show days and do a stint at the sales table, security, and supply some desserts for the cast meal.

What do you do when you are not volunteering with Revels?  Do you volunteer with any other organizations?

When not at the Revels, there is my condo and Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLIE) Program at UMASS Boston. I have been a docent for Boston by Foot and have helped to revise three tours. I recently became a docent for the Vilna Shul synagogue in Boston and am now researching material for a Jewish tour of the West End.

share this story on social media

Related Stories
See More
Blogs
11.23.2021
Thanks Giving

Read More

Blogs
10.08.2021
Meet Arkansas Light, Christmas Revels Production Stage Manager

Read More

Blogs
09.22.2021
Artist Spotlight: Ken Field

Read More

Volunteer Spotlight
01.26.2021
Volunteer Spotlight: Haley Fisher

Read More

Reviews
12.29.2020
The Sleepless Critic Review: Christmas Revels 50th virtual anniversary delivers mirth, merriment,

Read More

Reviews
12.23.2020
Review: Christmas Classics – Virtual Editions and Good as New!!

Read More

Reviews
12.19.2020
Boston Globe Review: This virtual Christmas Revels is a virtual triumph

Read More

Volunteer Spotlight
11.10.2020
Volunteer Spotlight: Rachel Grygorcewicz

Read More

Volunteer Spotlight
10.29.2020
Volunteer Spotlight: Nick Browse

Read More

Volunteer Spotlight
10.01.2020
Volunteer Spotlight: Ross Hall

Read More

Volunteer Spotlight
08.26.2020
Volunteer Spotlight: Harvey Cohen

Read More

Volunteer Spotlight
08.05.2020
Volunteer Spotlight: Cathie Ghorbani

Read More

Volunteer Spotlight
07.07.2020
Volunteer Spotlight: Mari Young

Read More

Volunteer Spotlight
06.30.2020
Volunteer Spotlight: Julie Smith

Read More

Blogs
05.19.2020
David Zooms to Perkins

Read More

Volunteer Spotlight
05.13.2020
Volunteer Spotlight: John Recroft

Read More

Blogs
04.30.2020
MAYDAY! MAYDAY! MAYDAY!

Read More

Reviews
12.19.2019
Review: Christmas Revels Brings Its Special Cheer to Depression Era America

Read More

Reviews
12.19.2019
BWW Review: THE CHRISTMAS REVELS: A Long Tradition of Community Forged Through

Read More

Reviews
12.17.2019
Theater Review: The Christmas Revels – American Version

Read More

Reviews
12.16.2019
REVIEW: Nearly 50, Christmas Revels is better than ever

Read More

Reviews
12.14.2019
REVIEW: This Christmas Revels goes to the American heartland

Read More

Blogs
11.21.2019
Thanksgiving

Read More

Blogs
06.21.2019
Solstice Duality

Read More

Blogs
03.19.2019
Happy Spring!

Read More

Reviews
12.20.2018
REVIEW: Christmas Revels Celebrates the ‘Other’ Great White North

Read More

Reviews
12.18.2018
REVIEW: ‘The Christmas Revels’ points north

Read More

Reviews
12.18.2018
Theater Review: The Christmas Revels – A Wonderful Nordic Celebration

Read More

Blogs
11.12.2018
Just Add Audience

Read More

Blogs
06.21.2018
The Longest Day

Read More

Blogs
05.16.2018
A Magical Experience: The Making of a CD

Read More

Blogs
02.14.2018
Malibu 2018

Read More

Reviews
12.27.2017
REVIEW: Revels’ ‘Venetian Celebration’ glitters

Read More

Reviews
12.13.2017
REVIEW: Old World Music, Comedy from Renaissance Era Lights Up Christmas Revels

Read More

Blogs
12.12.2017
St. Nicholas in Bohemia: Mikulas Eve

Read More

Reviews
12.10.2017
REVIEW: A handsome ‘Christmas Revels’ brings the party to Venice

Read More

Reviews
12.01.2017
A liberating holiday performance

Read More

Blogs
11.30.2017
The Master of the Revels

Read More

Blogs
06.21.2017
The Solstice Stands Revealed

Read More

Announcements
06.15.2017
Revels is here! Revels is here!

Read More

Blogs
05.24.2017
Striding Arches

Read More

Blogs
04.18.2017
Moonlighting with Shakespeare

Read More

Blogs
02.23.2017
What Blizzard?

Read More

Reviews
12.14.2016
Christmas Revels Enchants with Celebration of Acadian, Cajun Cultures

Read More

Announcements
12.12.2016
The Holy and the Broken Hallelujah Or How I learned to stop

Read More

Reviews
12.12.2016
This Acadian-Cajun Christmas Revels lets the good times roll

Read More

Reviews
12.04.2016
Annual Christmas Revels’ production fills the stage with delight

Read More

Blogs
06.06.2016
A Music Director Reflects

Read More

Blogs
04.11.2016
Fenway’s Ritual Earth

Read More

Announcements
03.08.2016
Welcome to Our New Music Director

Read More

Blogs
02.17.2016
Reflections on Malibu

Read More

Reviews
12.14.2015
‘Christmas Revels’ finally makes it to Wales

Read More

Blogs
12.10.2015
Christmas Revels – Looking Back and Looking Forward

Read More

Blogs
10.26.2015
Dylan Thomas: the intersection where poetry and drama meet

Read More

Announcements
09.16.2015
Revels Music Director George Emlen Announces His Retirement

Read More

Blogs
08.24.2015
Giving Voice

Read More

Blogs
07.17.2015
A Revels Director in Wales

Read More

Blogs
06.19.2015
Summer solstice: the year’s circus act

Read More

Reviews
06.12.2015
The Boston Globe profiles harpist Maeve Gilchrist and Revels FRINGE

Read More

Announcements
05.27.2015
Reporting on Education at Revels

Read More

Blogs
05.11.2015
The Great Flying Machine Race

Read More

Blogs
05.01.2015
The Wheel of the World

Read More

Blogs
04.13.2015
What’s Your Version of the Revels Elephant?

Read More

Announcements
01.26.2015
Farewell from Steve

Read More

Announcements
01.14.2015
Summer Camp

Read More

Reviews
12.17.2014
Fuse Theater Review: The Christmas Revels – Charming English Music Hall Edition

Read More

Reviews
12.17.2014
The Boston Globe Review: For Christmas Revels, a welcome return to Victorian

Read More

Reviews
12.16.2014
Events Insider Review: Christmas Revels Brings Victorian Dance Hall Celebration to Sanders

Read More

Reviews
12.15.2014
TAB Newspapers Theater Review: Revels transports audiences to Victorian England

Read More

Blogs
12.11.2014
The Crystal Palace

Read More

Blogs
09.16.2014
Don’t Blame Persephone

Read More

Blogs
07.07.2014
From the FRINGE: Who’s Maeve Listening to?

Read More

Blogs
06.20.2014
Solstice Fires

Read More

Blogs
04.25.2014
Patriot’s Day – My Favorite Holiday

Read More

Announcements
04.14.2014
A Forum on Arts Funding

Read More

Blogs
03.18.2014
Spring Forward

Read More

Blogs
03.03.2014
The Itinerant Musician

Read More

Announcements
02.05.2014
Welcome to the Revels blog

Read More

Stay up to date
with Revels.
Sign up to receive email updates on performances, events, and news coming from Revels.